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3 Tips for Styling Open Shelves

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Woman in front of open shelves.

In today’s design landscape, closets and shelves are often about more than just storage. They’re an opportunity to express your unique style and add flair to functional space. As with most things, this is easier said than done. Open shelves are like a blank canvas, full of potential. But it can be challenging to know where to begin. If you are looking to elevate your open shelving, here are a few important rules to keep in mind.

Anchor the Space 

One of the easiest traps to fall into is over cluttering your shelves. In an attempt to fill the space, it can be tempting to display lots of small items, but this leaves your shelves feeling disorganized and flat. In order to avoid this, you will want each shelf to have an anchoring item that draws the eye and acts as a focal point for the space. After placing those, you can complement and fill the space with a few smaller items. 

An anchoring item is typically larger in size, capable of grabbing attention and taking up substantial space. This can also be accomplished through strategic grouping. While one book may not be enough to anchor the space, grouping 3-5 of them together, either stacked horizontally or leaning against one another vertically, can work together to take the place of one larger element. Additionally, you can anchor the space with an item that is taller than the rest of the other pieces. After you’ve found something to anchor your space, you can add your complementary items to help fill the space and add contrast. 

Incorporate a Repeating Element 

Nothing is as naturally aesthetic as consistency. Adding a repeating element to your open shelving will help the entire unit feel cohesive and connected. This can be anything from a specific color, material, or shape that is repeated throughout your shelving. It’s also important to keep in mind the spacing of this element. Your repeating element should feel equally balanced throughout the entire space. 

Focus on Balance 

The most important aspect of any open shelving design is balance. This means balance in space, color, texture, and weight. Heavier items will look better on lower shelves. And while it’s important to incorporate meaningful items, like family photos, try not to rely too heavily on one shape. Balance out rigid, frame shapes with the use of round bowls or baskets. 

You should also be sure to spread out pops of color. One shelf shouldn’t be more colorful than the other, and likewise, one side of your unit shouldn’t feel more dense than the other. To help maintain balance, follow the rule of three. Specific elements, such as color, should be placed in a triangle shape. For example, if you have blue accents, you should place one on the top shelf, and two on either side of a lower shelf, forming a triangular shape. 

There is no greater time to create the space you have been dreaming about! With these tips and tricks in hand, you’re ready to jump in. Perhaps it’s that home office remodel that’s next on the list, and you’re ready to take your storage design to the next level. To get started, visit our Office Storage page today!

Photo by Thirdman from Pexels